Team: Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates
WHERE HE STANDS: 22nd, 77 points out of the top 10. Gained three spots last week.
ALL-STAR RECORD: Has finished 12th and 14th in his two starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Montoya points out "It's been awhile since we've competed in the All-Star race so I'm hopeful we can race our way in during the Showdown. We tested at Charlotte earlier this year and our Target Chevy was really good so I think we have a legitimate shot of getting into the All-Star race and winning some money."
LOOKING BACK: Montoya finished eighth for his second top-10 finish in the last three races. "We didn't unload as good as we wanted, but we got it where it was really good," said Montoya. "We did a really good job. We have been running like this all year, but only in the last couple of weeks have been gotten the results we deserve."
ETC.: After a slow, slow start to the season, Montoya believes the team is now headed in the right direction. "We've had good cars all year, but we've just had all kinds of mistakes (on pit road) and other things (mechanical) go wrong. I keep telling the guys we have got to execute. If every person here does their best we are going to be looking like heroes here. Tonight (Darlington) is a good example of that."
9 MARCOS AMBROSE, Ford
Team: Richard Petty Motorsports
WHERE HE STANDS: 23rd, 80 points out of the top 10. Lost two spots last week.
ALL-STAR RECORD: Finished seventh a year ago in his first All-Star appearance.
LOOKING AHEAD: Ambrose said, "There is a heightened excitement around this race (the Sprint All-Star race). We have shown a lot of speed on the mile-and-a-half tracks this year, and I'm thrilled to have a race where we just go for the win. We had a lot of fun in last year's event and raced up there with the best of them. We plan on being up front again this weekend and contending for the million-dollar prize."
LOOKING BACK: Ambrose struggled all night as he finished 34th at Darlington. "We'll have to go back and take a look at the car in the shop," said Ambrose. "We struggled with it yesterday, and tonight, it wasn't much better. Very early in the race, we knew it was going to be a long night. It just didn't react to anything and Drew (Blickensderfer, crew chief) threw a lot at it. "
ETC: Car owner Richard Petty and Ambrose will play host to Make-A-Wish child Jacob from Sumter, Ga. Jacob wanted to watch a race and meet Petty and his race team. Jacob will meet with both Petty and Ambrose and be a VIP guest of the 9 team on race day.
55 MARK MARTIN, Toyota
Team: Michael Waltrip Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 24th, 89 points out of the top 10. Lost one spot last week.
ALL-STAR RECORD: Two wins and 10 top-10 finishes in 23 starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Martin calls the All-Star race "one of the highlights of the season. It's just a great event for the fans and the drivers. In this race you run for a big trophy and a big check (one million dollars). The All-Star Race is a break from counting points. That also makes it fun. I'd love to win that big trophy and some of Bruton's (Smith, the track owner) money Saturday night."
LOOKING BACK: It was a long, long night for Martin as he finished 25th, four laps back of winner Matt Kenseth. "That was a tough night for us," said Martin. "The Aaron's Dream Machine was pretty loose so I needed the whole race track to drive it. I couldn't get near anyone on the track. Because of those long green-flag runs we didn't get a chance to work on it. We'll bounce back at Charlotte next weekend."
ETC.: Martin had been in more All-Star races than any other driver - 23. "I've enjoyed every one," said Martin. "I've been fortunate to work with a whole lot of great people, teams and organization over the years. It's a great event. This race creates memories."
11 DENNY HAMLIN, Toyota
Team: Joe Gibbs Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 27th, 118 points out of the top 10. Gained four spots last week.
ALL-STAR RECORD: Three top-seven finishes including two fourth-place finishes in six starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: One of the most surprising stats about the Sprint All-Star race is that no Joe Gibbs Racing driver has ever won the special event. Hamlin hopes to become the first. "Charlotte has been one of our better tracks, but we can't seem to get the win," said Hamlin. "But JGR has been really strong this year (with five wins in 11 races). So all of us feel this could be our weekend."